Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Journey's End"


Air date: 3/28/1994
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Corey Allen

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Wesley Crusher returns to the Enterprise during a break from Starfleet Academy while the Enterprise prepares to negotiate the details of moving a Federation colony off a planet that, as a result of a recently signed treaty changing the Federation/Cardassian border, will soon reside inside Cardassian space. It's a two-pronged storyline that ultimately comes together, albeit somewhat clumsily.

After a stretch of episodes that seemed like the series going haywire with every kitchen-sink idea it could think of (including some spectacularly bad ones), "Journey's End" is the first installment that feels like TNG entering the final leg of the series, making a point to wrap up some character threads — in this case, the story of young Wesley. That it must turn Wesley into a colossal douche in the process (by TNG standards) is something I'm torn over: On the one hand, it's a change of pace (although "The First Duty," which already dismantled his boy-wonder image, was a much better example of that), but on the other hand it's not exactly a worthwhile change of pace, and it feels awfully ham-handed. Yeah, Wesley is struggling with doubts over who he is and where he's going, but having him lash out just makes him seem childish.

This character thread is set against the backdrop of a Federation colony — made up of American Indians who have preserved a centuries-old culture on this far-away world — being told they are being forced off their land because of political machinations larger than themselves. While the notion of "Space Indians" feels like something that would've been fodder for TOS, the writers bring a decidedly TNG sensibility to it, with Picard wistfully noting the disturbing parallels between this assignment and what happened to Native Americans hundreds of years ago. (Less effective is the contrived guilt surrounding the claim that one of Picard's ancestors was a man who participated in a massacre of Indians, which seems superfluous while indulging the show's spiritual mumbo-jumbo as somehow able to magically provide facts that most people would need books for.)

Meanwhile, the situation created by the treaty here is an interesting footnote because it would soon be the impetus for the Maquis, which would be crucial plot elements for both DS9 and Voyager. Gul Evek (Ricard Poe), the Cardassian who is the thorn in everyone's side here (and at times seems like he wants to be gasoline on a fire), makes for a strong, if sometimes excessively forced, antagonistic presence. He could've been a solid recurring character on DS9 (and indeed he was in a handful of episodes) if the show didn't already have the terrific Dukat.

The plot threads come together as Wesley is befriended by an Indian named Lakanta (Tom Jackson) and encouraged to explore his spiritual side in a ritual that I wish I cared more about, but which feels kind of perfunctory. (Wesley sees his father in this vision, which I guess technically means this episode qualifies in the season's never-ending Family Tree Theater sweepstakes.) It turns out this Indian is actually the mysterious Traveler (Eric Menyuk, last seen in fourth season's "Remember Me"), who is trying to lead Wesley to his destiny as an exceptionally rare human with the ability to transcend space and time.

While it has its moments, "Journey's End" doesn't ever jell. The political solution is too easily solved, such that Picard is able to sidestep the distasteful actions we had been told the whole episode would be unavoidable. As for the final chapter in Wesley's story, I guess it's appropriate for this character — which is part of the problem. When a character's arc is to be constantly and annoyingly exceptional (save the aforementioned "First Duty"), seeing the revelation here that he's actually superhumanly exceptional is not really getting to the crux of the guy. A lot of people have problems and wonder who they are and where they're going. Not a lot of them pull themselves outside of the space-time continuum to find the answer. I guess that's why they call it Star Trek.

Previous episode: Genesis
Next episode: Firstborn

Season Index

25 comments on this review

Patrick - Sun, Mar 10, 2013 - 11:26pm (USA Central)
It was lazy writing in this episode to not even talk briefly the events of "The First Duty" as a partial cause to Wesley's disillusionment with being at the Academy. One would think that it would be a traumatic and life changing experience as it was with Sito in "Lower Decks". One would expect more from Ronald D. Moore.

Also, what's the deal with Wesley leaving Starfleet, and then 8 years later being back in uniform in Star Trek: Nemesis? There's even that deleted scene with him talking about how he's serving on the USS Titan with Captain Riker. One wonders if there's some semi-canonical story behind that.
SJ - Mon, Mar 11, 2013 - 7:34pm (USA Central)
All this time, I thought Chris Elliott was the Traveler in a cool cameo of sorts. Oh, well.
Grumpy - Mon, Mar 11, 2013 - 9:46pm (USA Central)
"...it would soon be the impetus for the Maquis, which would be crucial plot elements for both DS9 and Voyager."

More precisely, the Maquis would be crucial to Voyager, and DS9 got saddled with the set-up as much as TNG did here. DS9 had to live with the Maquis as a plot element, though, unlike TNG (and, it turns out, Voyager).
William B - Tue, Mar 12, 2013 - 10:51am (USA Central)
I think the fact that the deal Picard strikes ends up creating the Maquis, albeit indirectly, shows that Picard didn't really sidestep the moral issues, but found a best-of-a-bad-situation compromise that creates more problems. Note that I don't think that Picard made the wrong decision -- I don't think there was a better one available -- but given that the episode was deliberately setting up the Maquis situation I think that the episode maintains the proper amount of moral ambiguity. Picard does have to suffer the consequences of the intractability of the situation, since he loses protegee Ro Laren as a result.

Anyway, agree about the Wesley stuff and the episode's general quality. It's particularly frustrating to reveal that all the "Native Americans...in space!" set up with Wesley and Lakanta was all fake and a trick to set up the Traveler. One of the two Native American characters of interest in the episode is the Traveler in disguise.
Nic - Tue, Mar 12, 2013 - 9:16pm (USA Central)
I understand Moore's reasons for doing this episode - that the Traveler's claims in "Where No One Has Gone Before" didn't fit with him going to the Academy at everyone else. But that only hightlights how misguided it was to have Wesley be a wonder-boy in the first place. And I didn't buy Wheaton's acting at all in the early acts of the show where he's mouthing off at everyone (though maybe it's due to a weak script).

The Native Americans story, though, was top-notch, and perfectly set the stage for the Maquis arc that was to come. I'd give this a 7/10.
Nick P. - Wed, Mar 13, 2013 - 7:11am (USA Central)
This episode something that really bothers me about post-Roddenberry Trek. That is the respect for religion. Roddenberry was a classical liberal (much like myself, I would hope) in that he respects all people as individuals, but he doesn't claim to respect religions and ideas. Some are stupid and false. TOS and early TNG make that abundantly clear.

But I feel late TNG and DS9 to a huge extent, gave passing respect to religion in all its forms in a very post-modern "all religions are sort the same thing" kind of way. Gene respected cultures sure, but he defininetly looked at religion as a failing, not just another facet of culture as alot of modern liberals do.

Oh, and btw, this episode is terrible, I have only seen it once, and never plan on seeing it again. I hate Ro, I hate the Maquis, and I hate indians in space.
Paul - Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - 8:56am (USA Central)
This is an episode that could have worked, I think. But the Native American story was too heavy handed -- the flute music, in particular, has always bugged me -- and the Wesley stuff doesn't make sense.

Wesley was TNG's worst character, but mostly because he was just laughable in season one. In seasons two and three (and early in the fourth season, before he left) he was less cloying and had grown up some. I blame his bad season one on the writing staff trying to muscle a kid into the cast.

Wesley in later episodes -- "The First Duty" and even "The Game" -- was a much better character. He had grown up and he could do stuff other than always outsmarting the adults.

Then, this episode came around and tried something completely different. Wesley doesn't work as a bratty asshole and the scene with Geordi is particularly bad. Instead of being sullen, they could have made him more lost, which would have worked better.

Oh, and then having Wesley pop up in 'Nemesis' as a member of Starfleet? Weak sauce.
Michael - Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - 3:11pm (USA Central)
I love the parallels to Insurrection here. The secret of eternal life may not be a sufficient moral justification for moving a few hundred space elves, but we'll happily relocate this entire colony by force because of the treaty. Not that it really makes sense for the colony to choose to live under Cardassian rule, and if they did, wouldn't they just go all Bajoran occupation on them if they posed a problem? This episode seems to state that Dorvan will be out of Federation jurisdiction, like other colonies in The DMZ, yet the Maguis are still described as Federation citizens in the future. Huh? Isn't the whole point that they renounced the Federation? And it seems obvious that a few colonies can't hope to fight off a major galactic power. If the Cardassians just invaded all the Maquis worlds, are we supposed to believe they could resist it? Or would the Federation have to intervene then? Why? They aren't under their protection, as they keep saying. After all is said and done, I don't really understand the Maquis. It's hard to see their plight as anything but a problem of their own choosing, but I think that's largely an issue of the setting and the universe the idea tries to inhabit. Fighting off an occupier is one thing. Fighting off an occupier, because you refuse to leave a particular place, when there are thousands of other options and there is apparently no poverty or issue of wealth or survival, is hard to accept as a reasonable course of action, particularly against a ruthless militaristic regime. I wonder, don't any of the Maquis have children? Is it really moral to risk the lives of your children over property? I know, I know, it's a metaphor, but it really doesn't seem to stand up to scrutiny.
Nick P. - Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - 12:54pm (USA Central)
Michael, you make a great point about the maquis, and why they are stupid. At least the bajorans are the palestinians in space, but the Maquis have no dramatic heft. They don't have a religious reason for staying where they are. There is no monetary, sustenance issue, in fact none of the maquis we know are even natives to the planets they are trying to hold. there is no livins space issue like on modern earth because all 5 star trek repeatedly say how many available habitable worlds there are. There is just no reason to feel any sympathy for them.

And you make another great point that I have also noticed about the parallel between this ep and insurrection. Picard won't protect a group due to a cardassian treaty, but an element that could CURE DEATH, and he protects the group hoarding it! What an F-face. That I think doesn't reflect much on this episode, but it shows how absurd Insurrection is.
Patrick - Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - 5:01pm (USA Central)
"Journey's End" is the exact opposite of season 3's "The Ensigns of Command". I was hoping that Picard would send Data down to stun a few of the natives and destroy their water system and give that "things can be replaced" speech. I don't think political correctness works on an android.

I'm with Nick P., I never had any sympathy for the Maquis even when this whole multi-series TNG-DS9-VOY arc was first run on television. The colonists were warned decades in advance that the territory was in dispute, but they're willing to plunge the civilizations into war just so they don't have to move...f*** them.
Jay - Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - 9:40pm (USA Central)
Yep...I had about as much sympathy for the Maquis as I did the Ba'ku...which is to say, none whatsoever. Selfish, myopic, and stubborn, both ran counter to Spock's "the needs of the many..."
Cloudane - Fri, May 17, 2013 - 5:10am (USA Central)
As one of the rare people who kind of liked Wesley (I was a young nerd kid myself) I really disliked the assassination of his character and turning him into a brat as a form of closure. Oh well.

I wonder how the Traveller stuff would be seen if it were written today. Certain subjects have become more touchy in society, and I'm not sure in the modern day how they'd take "older guy who has always had a bit of a shine for this young boy stalks him and then takes him on a magical adventure"
William B - Fri, May 17, 2013 - 5:41am (USA Central)
@Cloudane, I liked Wesley too, and his sulky brattiness did annoy me too. In particular, as has been mentioned before, there was an easy way to write Wesley's dissatisfaction into the story in a way consistent with his past -- say that he was more deeply affected by the death of his Nova Squadron companion and his own role in it as well as the punishment and shame that was associated with it from "The First Duty."
navamske - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 9:39pm (USA Central)

"But the Native American story was too heavy handed -- the flute music, in particular, has always bugged me -- and the Wesley stuff doesn't make sense."

Yes, thank you! That "whistly" music, as I call it, is so annoying -- it takes you right out of the story with its in-your-face, unnecessary "We're in Indian mode now" schtick. They even did it briefly in "Endame" when Old Janeway is talking to Chakotay's headstone.
Luke - Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - 9:25pm (USA Central)
@Patrick Good point about The Ensigns of Command, for some reason I've never contrasted the two.

I can't stand Picard's pandering in this episode. The Dorvan colonists and the Maquis that followed later are so ideologically bankrupt that is obnoxious and embarrassing how often they were drudged up in DS9 and VOY to try to conjure some moral ambiguity, which always falls flat.
William B - Sat, Nov 2, 2013 - 2:43am (USA Central)

The Native American material probably would have worked better if they had just made up a new people that was clearly analogous to the Native American situation, and then come up with a convincing in-universe moral crisis. The problem is that there is nothing analogous about the situation presented in this episode, with the single village of Native Americans who moved to Dorvan V 20 years ago because the mountains spoke to them, and the Native Americans forced off land by conquering nations. To repeat: nothing analogous -- and the silliness of the comparison is almost insulting to the real historical atrocities the episode halfheartedly namechecks. The integrity of the Star Trek universe is compromised in order to try to push through this moral crisis. And I don't mind a little compromise to get a story across, but this bends to the point of breaking.

The attempt to draw Picard into this by establishing that Picard had an ancestor who participated in a brutal attack 700 years before the episode takes place is really eye-rolling. I guess we're supposed to see it as significant that this guy has the Picard name. But really, Picard is a descendant of HOW MANY people who were alive during the 17th century? A probably-unreliable genaeology article I just looked up suggests that there is usually no repetition in ancestors within the last ten generations (but after ten generations, there's a lot of repetition in ancestors, so we can't just do the 2^n ancestors for n generations calculation), which makes about a thousand ancestors from ten generations ago, let alone the 25-30 generations ago. Picard rightly dismisses the idea that he has some responsibility for Javier Picard's actions, but then seems to take it seriously, and the script seems to expect us to at least believe in it a bit.

You know, I know that people objected to Picard's hardline anti-religious stance in "Who Watches the Watchers," but I would take that, and worse, any day over the way Picard panders in this episode. He continues to repeat how much he respects these Native Americans' beliefs, and this would be less jarring if it weren't basically the first time we have seen human spiritual beliefs in practice in all of TNG. Data mentioned the Festival of Lights in "Data's Day," but a) we didn't see it, and more importantly b) this wasn't used as a reason to refuse to relocate to another settlement to avoid another war where millions of people die. The *only* reason the episode gives for why the Dorvan V colonists are so attached to this planet they have lived on for twenty years is their religious beliefs, and so the prioritization of religious beliefs is higher in this episode than any time before. This goes mostly uncommented upon, frustratingly.

Similarly, Wesley seems to take the policy that I guess we are supposed to take, which is that relocating these people is wrong. But come on. This is a post-scarcity society. They settled on a planet in dispute, possibly even *during* a war (I'm never quite clear on what the timeline of the Cardassian war is).

The episode's pandering is really hard to stomach after a while -- the flute, as others have mentioned above. And the fact that, in an effort to avoid any possible offense, they don't identify this tribe. They are some kind of generic "Native American Indians," who are never identified as an actual people but as some kind of halfhearted amalgam of real life tribes. The whole thing feels very condescending.

Final point about the Native Americans: we spend time in which "Lakanta" shows Wesley the value of the vision quest, from this non-specific unreal Native American tribe. And then just when this wise man has shown Wesley, and us, the value of this unnamed tribe's religion -- it turns out he's actually the Traveler! So, the episode's hamfisted demonstration of the value of this tribe's religion turns out to be a fake-out, because it was the Traveler all along. Wesley says at the end that the Traveler says that he can learn a lot from "these people," as a way of reestablishing the importance of the Native Americans in this story. But Wesley has not actually interacted with them -- or hasn't, outside that one scene where he warned the villagers of Worf's attempt to start evacuations.

For what it's worth, I do like the solution at the end -- that if the Dorvan V colonists really, really want to stay where they are, they can stay there and be under Cardassian jurisdiction. That's fairly classic compromise. The lead up to it, though, feels very warmed over from the brinksmanship material of earlier seasons; compare the Picard/Evek scene here to the material in "The Enemy" or "The Wounded," and, well, there's no comparison.

@Patrick, great point about "The Ensigns of Command." That really shows up the problem at the core of this episode.

OK, so, uh, Wesley is in this episode, right? :) The episode manages to make me angry at everyone over Wesley's behaviour here. Wesley's obnoxious behaviour to Geordi is groan-inducing. But somehow, it is even more annoying that Wesley's critical attitude toward Geordi's [tech tech tech] spreads through the ship, so that Picard has heard about what a little punk Wesley was to Geordi.

One could say that it's implied that Wesley's Bad Attitude is related to the Nova Squadron incident -- especially since "Lakanta" says that he saw Wesley in a vision two years ago, and that's what happened two years ago. (Or not, since presumably he was lying?) However, despite Wesley having only three pips marking him out as a third year cadet, as he should be given that he was held back a year, everyone still refers to him as a fourth-year cadet, and Wesley describes his fundamental problem as that he got depressed and angry as graduation approached. So there is no real effort in the episode to link Wesley's anger here to an incident we've actually seen.

Wesley's stopping the relocation of the Native Americans, and then the scene of Picard chewing him out, is interesting, though not really successful. I've mentioned the reasons I disagree that it's wrong to relocate these people. But if we take as read that it is wrong, and that Picard is only going along with it because of some abstract greater good thing, then the scene is a curious inversion of "The First Duty." Picard told Wesley there that the first duty of a Starfleet officer is to the truth -- and that this was above all considerations, including a false sense of loyalty. Picard revealed in "The Pegasus" that the *reason* he hired Riker was because he respected someone who defied orders when he believed it was the right thing to do. So Picard's transformation into an authoritarian figurehead basically betrays the values he wanted to instill in Wesley. Again, I don't really buy it, because I don't buy the premise of the episode -- but it is, I guess, an interesting choice.

Now, that Wesley did want to be in Starfleet in part to please his father, and then his surrogate father in Picard, is pretty well-established, and so I don't mind that aspect of things so much. It's just frustrating, because "The First Duty" dealt with Wesley's succumbing to the pressure to be exceptional *so much* better than this episode did, by showing how that pressure led to Wesley making big mistakes rather than just showing him be uncharacteristically a jerk and then having him decide that he stands morally with the Dorvan V colonists because the Traveler gets him to be sympathetic to them while in disguise.

So, right after Wesley resigns, we find out he HAS THE POWER TO STOP TIME! WITH HIS MIND! You know, at least in "Remember Me" and the like, Wesley *actually had a console with him*. That he has the superpower to stop time removes any real conflict from his story, because obviously he doesn't have to be in Starfleet when he has *superpowers*. It's not just a matter of "Starfleet's good for some people, but not for me"; it is now "Starfleet was pretty cool, but I AM BASICALLY A GOD, so." And a God who still is going to study what the Native Americans have to say, even though I didn't see any of them with the ability to stop time with their mind.

Other things that annoyed me: the Traveler telling Wesley, "Have faith that the others can solve this problem on their own!" would be great advice if Wesley were not *directly involved in creating this situation*, by telling the colonists that Worf et al. were planning to beam them out. If Wesley was correct to interfere then, he should try to interfere again now, right? And if he was wrong to interfere then (more likely), he has some responsibility to try to fix it. But apparently Wesley's time-freezing ability suddenly changes his whole relationship to the world. There is precedent for this, I guess -- Picard telling Riker not to use his Q powers at all in "Hide and Q," e.g. -- but Picard didn't tell Riker not to use his powers to fix situations he had created.

And you know, the sad thing is, I LIKE WESLEY. Not all the time, certainly, but I like "Coming of Age" and the subplot in "Pen Pals" and the shuttlecraft scenes in "Samaritan Snare" and "Evolution" and the season four material ("Family," "Remember Me," and much of "Final Mission") and aspects of "The Game," and I love "The First Duty." He has been poorly served by the show, but still. This final episode mostly removes Wesley's entire personality -- his good-natured attitude, his perfectionism, his problem-solving -- and makes him spend most of his final hour interacting with guest characters. The goodbye scene with Beverly and Picard feels very perfunctory and half-hearted, even though this is the last we see of him in the series.

The episode is not wholly without merit. As I said, I like the compromise reached at the end; and I like some of the ideas of the Wesley story. I do think that it makes sense for Wesley to find a destiny outside Starfleet, and for him to realize that he has been chasing a ghost (his father, I mean, not the kind of ghost his mother was dealing with) his whole life, in addition to Picard's expectations, which he even said in "Final Mission" were the reason he did all this. That Wesley leaves Starfleet is a reasonable end to the character. The way it happened was not. I guess 1.5 stars.
mephyve - Thu, Jan 30, 2014 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
When the traveller calls you special you must really be extraordinary. Not surprising that Wesley became superhuman. His attitude at the beginning of the episode was just rude and uncalled for though, no matter what he was struggling with.
Nice nod to the Indians. I find it humorous how the Trek universe deals with their spirituality by saying 'they're aware of many things'; implying that their spirituality is based in science rather than the metaphysical or supernatural.
Moonie - Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - 12:50pm (USA Central)
Space Indians. Ugh.

Same issue I've had with Insurrection.

Also selfish, selfish people. But of course they are "noble savages". Ugh again.

Elliott - Wed, Jul 9, 2014 - 9:02pm (USA Central)

I'd love to see a DS9 reference to how the Cardassians wiped out Anthwar's village a week after the Enterprise left, or sent every last Indian into a labour camp amid vacuous protests that the Cardassians' souls would be stained.

Frankly, given the way the Maquis' origins and subsequent infractions are portrayed on TNG and DS9, I'm not surprised the Voyager writers didn't do much with them. What a colossal collection of idiots.
Taylor - Sat, Aug 16, 2014 - 10:53pm (USA Central)
Early in the episode, Wesley just seems backed up - he needs to get laid.

His ultimate decision seems drastic and rushed, with only brief minutes of material to back it up. And frankly, it just doesn't feel right.

I think that's a pan flute we're hearing - very cliched. Unfortunately, the Native American material is mostly corny.

Definitely a mixed bag.
SkepticalMI - Sat, Sep 6, 2014 - 4:48pm (USA Central)
I know this is way late, but Nick P, what you are describing is not at all what classical liberalism is. The definition of classical liberalism is based on the writings of John Locke (and others) and deal with the concept of natural individual ("negative") rights. It does not speak to religion or cultures as being "good" or "bad" except insofar as to whether or not they violate the individual rights. We saw no sign that these Indians were suppressing any rights, and thus there is no reason, from a classical liberal perspective, to disdain them. In fact, Picard's solution was straight out of the realm of classical liberalism. The purpose of government is to form a social contract in which people give up a bare minimum of their natural rights in order to live in a state of harmony with others. When the government demands more than that (which the Federation is demanding in this case), the people have a right to break that contract and form a new social contract. Judgment of another's culture has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Sorry for the aside, but as a strong classical liberal myself, I hate to see it misconstrued. The corruption of classical liberal ideals has been occurring since the French Revolution, and has almost nothing to do with modern liberalism or leftism.

Also, while The First Duty should have been brought up, I don't think it makes sense to have it be a significant reason for Wesley's current whinyness. The point of this episode was to call back to WNOHGB, which stated that Wesley had a unique gift equivalent to Mozart's ability in music. As such, then Wesley's disillusionment with Starfleet had to stem from the fact that he's destined for something bigger, not just because of other problems. More importantly, to have his whinyness be due to First Duty would cheapen the character, especially after Lower Decks. Sito Jaxa took it on the chin, redoubled her efforts, and worked hard in adverse conditions to end up getting through the hostile environment and getting posted to the Enterprise. If she could do it, why not Wesley? So clearly, we had to give him some other reason to be such a jerk.

And while I know this episode is seen as being the setup for the Maquis, is it really? After all, these folks are now independent. They have no reason to attack the Federation. And the Federation explicitly has no obligation to aid them. Evek seemed to be perfectly ok with this. So this colony couldn't have caused the Maquis. Unless all the other colonists saw this and suddenly declared their own independence... But that's somewhat silly. These Indians had a deep spiritual reason for staying. We were told that these areas were in dispute for over 20 years, yet all these different colonists stayed? We saw in Ensigns of Command that most people's ties to the land evaporate pretty quickly when the phasers start firing. Really, like others said, the whole Maquis thing doesn't make too much sense.

Not to mention that apparently both sides had some planets colonized in the others' territories. One would think they'd be willing to swap a few planets like that? Seriously, how important are borders when all stars are 4 light years away from each other?

And with all that, I haven't even talked much about the episode itself... Which is also a mess. Wesley's mood swings were crazy, and as others have mentioned the scene in Engineering was particularly awful. And while he is feeling depressed and cynical and all that, he decides to take up the Indians' cause and starting a riot? Is that really in character? Oh, and then he can stop time because, well, reasons. And, despite the fact that he spent the first 20 years of his life as a human, caring deeply about people, and spent several years working alongside the Enterprise folks... and then he just walks away from a phase battle because now he's superior to mere mortals. For an episode that was designed to give Wesley his grand sendoff, it didn't really feel like a real person.

And yes, the Indian plot was pretty awful too. Picard's handwringing was a bit much; we already saw Data dealing with a similar situation in Ensigns of Command and there was no anguish involved. I don't see this as the show not supporting its anti-religion bias, but rather not supporting its anti-racism bias. After beating us over the head in TOS about how unified the human race is, we now have this little subculture that thinks it is more important than everyone else. That's not to say they are wrong, but it does strain credulity given everything else we've seen about people working together.

But at least within the community there is no dissent. So not one of these people were willing to see the Federation's side? Not one was willing to leave? Convenient.

Picard's handwringing was over the top as well. The Cardassians were right, what is there to negotiate about? There are three options: they leave willingly, you kidnap them forcefully, or you leave them to the mercy of the Cardassians. There was simply no other choices here. Again, this was all done much better with Ensigns of Command, in which there was no hesitation to show the stubborn colonists exactly what the problem was.

But fortunately, Picard happened to stumble across the one time the Cardassians were being reasonable and accommodating. Hooray!

I don't mean to be too negative. There were good ideas here and there, and a few good scenes. The first meeting of Lakanta and Wesley (when Lakanta asks him point blank what he thinks is sacred and Wesley admits he hasn't been treating anything, including himself, as sacred lately) was great. Picard's interactions with Evek were pretty good. The tension on the ground was believable. And I like the idea of Wesley's arc ending with him leaving Starfleet. The plot just didn't seem to have enough there to sustain it.
Polly - Wed, Sep 17, 2014 - 7:25am (USA Central)
This episode illustrates what seems to be a common mainstream American misconception, which is that entire foreign cultures exist purely to help some middle class white American male to to get his act together.
ds - Sun, Oct 12, 2014 - 5:12pm (USA Central)
I just watched this again today after going through the entire series and really disliked it. What an awful way to wrap up the Westley character. During the first run, I just remember being happy to see him again but on my recent rewatching, the entire episode felt disingenuous. The Indian stuff was ridiculous and although I loved the Traveler tie in the episode writing was bad.

I've been enjoying reading through the blog and everyone's comments as I go through episode by episode. It makes it more enjoyable.
david b - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 4:24am (USA Central)
Just a quick note on this. I'm still watching the series in order for the first time and quite honestly I found this the dumbest episode out of all seven seasons. That mainly attributed to the reasons that William B eloquently lays out earlier in this thread.

American Indians… really? Where are their huge bingo parlor/tobacco shoppes that headline washed up country singers? Yes… I know… but that's where the American Indian society is at now. I'm supposed to believe they'll regress back to 1840 in the next 400 years… on a different planet after traveling at warp speed to get there? Ugh… couldn't get pass that to begin with and the episode then somehow gets even worse.

As others have said, the whole "these 100 (or so) humans will cause a horrible war" should have been dealt with from the beginning exactly as it was at the end. "So… yeah, Cardissian dudes… this planet is yours now. Nothing really on it but a couple of hundred people in huts your technology could build in one day before lunch break. They want to stay. They'll be no problem. Cool?"

And then… if this is the last of Wesley ... wow. What a flat out horrible way to destroy a perfectly competent character. Yes, I know he wasn't loved by most Trekkies, but I actually liked the thought of an awkward, outcast genius teenager (my only problem with the Wesley character until this episode was that they gave him the helm of the Star Fleet flag ship before he was even a cadet. That was a hard pill to swallow). But really… vision quests? Daddy says "don't follow me"? Oh… and by the way, I'm nearly God-like? Where the hell did THAT come from?!?!?!

Sorry… I've loved this series so far. SO much good stuff in ST:TNG (I was in Germany in the USAF when it originally aired, so never saw it before). But the writers of THIS horrible, horrible episode should never be trusted with anything canonical ever again.

Oh… and I see that Jammer has given some .5-1 star reviews earlier in this season. But I felt all of those had much more merit than this one.
Kahryl - Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - 4:45pm (USA Central)
Dear God. Starfleet Officers - Picard's people - work 24/7 and DIE frequently to protect these Indian bozos from Space Fascists and all kinds of other external threats that would instantly annihilate them, all so they can have a carefree life sitting around thinking about How Spritual That Mountain Is while being stoned out of their minds. And Starfleet asks nothing, NOTHING in return. And these d-bags have the gall to guilt trip Picard and compare him to a Spanish conqueror because he asks them to please-move-to-another-paradise so that THOUSANDS don't die?

I like Wesley finally bucking the expectation for him to be the perfect wonderboy pet, but these Indians made me too angry to enjoy the episode.

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